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Whisky Focus - Johnnie Walker Double Black Whisky

Diageo Launch Johnnie Walker Double Black


12th January 2010

Johnnie Walker Double BlackDiageo today announced the test launch of a new deluxe variant of Johnnie Walker Black Label – Johnnie Walker Double Black. It is a peatier version of Johnnie Walker Black Label and it will be tested by Diageo in global travel retail.

Johnnie Walker Double Black will be released later this month at airport shops operated by Beirut Duty Free, Dubai Duty Free, DFS Singapore, International-Shoppes Duty Free, King Power International and Nuance, at Bangkok, Dubai, Beirut, JFK, Singapore and Sydney international airports.

The test will last until June and will be supported by in-store display and sampling.

The whisky was created taking Black Label as a blueprint and adding heavily-peated malts and some aged in deeply charred oak casks.

Global brand director David Gates said: "Interest in the Scotch whisky category continues to be high and we believe consumers want to explore the huge range of flavour experiences that a brand like Johnnie Walker can deliver."

NO AGE STATEMENT BUT NO RESISTANCE, SAYS DIAGEO

Johnnie Walker Double BlackThe one litre bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black will retail at a +15-20% price premium to Johnnie Walker Black Label even though it has No Age Statement.

When Diageo was asked if they expected any consumer resistance against the lack of an age statement on Double Black, Gates replied: “Because the expectations of what you are going to get are so clearly set from the pack – and when you taste it, it delivers – it never came up in the research.

"We researched it pretty broadly in Asia, and Latin America, for example – and we feel confident. Age statement is more of a trade preoccupation than a consumer one generally.”

If the test works, then what?

“Our assumption is that it will be successful and we will then (after the trial) hope to roll out in the rest of travel retail,” Gates replied.

“At that point we will make a decision whether to go broader than travel retail as an exclusive channel.

“However, one of the big shopper motivations in the travel retail environment is that they are looking for things in travel retail that they can’t buy in their domestic markets.

"That’s a very powerful insight for us. So at the moment we feel very comfortable restricting it to travel retail... we just want to see what happens in terms of consumer sales in these six airports.

“There will be some cannibalisation of course but we think there will be a decent amount of incremental sales as well, with people choosing to buy Double Black instead of a competitor’s product or, one of each. Clearly one of each would be lovely.”

While packaged in a distinctive smoky grey coloured glass bottle to reflect the smoky flavour, Double Black retains the iconic branding elements of Johnnie Walker whiskies: the familiar square bottle and slanting label.
 

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